Have you ever read a great book, put it down, looked at your shit and thought…WTF. What’s the point? I’ll never be that good. Doesn’t matter that I get fan mail, doesn’t matter that my crit partner thinks my writing is the shit, I will never in a million years write a book as good as the one I just read.
If you just said no, that’s never happened to you, I’ll call you out right now – liar liar, pants on fire! If you shouted out a Hells Yes! then this, my friend, is for you.
I admit this just happened to me last night. After I finished the yummiest book ever, I had to give myself an actual pep talk, no joke. Otherwise I wasn’t going to write at all, and that’s just bad for business – especially since I’m on deadline. So, since May Boot Camp is hanging on the horizon, I thought I’d share some tips that might help you get the words to fly when you think you’re the worst writer in the world.
So here’s what I came up with in my time of crisis:
First thing to keep in mind when this happens --> That awesome book you just read has been edited to within an inch of its life. It’s been edited by the author (several times), by their crit partners (several times), by the editor (several times), and by a line editor at least once. That book has gained the seal of effing approval through blood, sweat and tears by numerous writers and industry professionals. Of course it’s going to be better than the drivel you’re writing right now!
Second thing to keep in mind --> You’re reading that awesome book for the first time. It’s fresh and exciting. Every metaphor and awesome description is going to pop out at you like a colorful Jack-in-the-Box because it’s new to you. Now imagine reading it twice. Three times. Five times. Six times – No, make it stop! Only a handful of books are worth that many re-reads, and even then you don’t read that special book over and over within the span of a few months. You’d probably start to hate it, too. This is something I call the grandbaby syndrome. Sure, you love your kids, but they get on your last nerve at times, right? But the grandparents never seem to be tired of the little monsters. Why? Because they get them in increments! Does that happen when you’re immersed in the book you’re writing? Nope. You’re living and breathing that POS hour after hour, day after day, minute after minute – Make it stop!
Speaking of POS…Third thing to keep in mind --> POS first draft. Yes, even the great Nora believes her first drafts aren’t worth the screen space they’re typed on. Don’t sweat your first draft! You’ll get the chance to edit your book and make it nice and pretty. Suddenly your plot won’t seem so formulaic. Your characters will start to feel like real people. A fantastic metaphor will find its way onto the page.
In short, do not compare your wee little baby to the NY Giants that line your shelves. They’ve gone through their growing pains, and puberty was a BITCH!
Insert craptastic 80’s song – “Don’t Stop (pause) Believin’...”
And next time save that NY book for a treat – like AFTER you finish that first draft. Thanks to Stacia Kane and her Downside series, I learned a valuable lesson.
A multi-published author of paranormal romance, Dawn McClure can often be found at her desk plugging away at a WIP or performing her duties as SavvyAuthors Administrative Assistant and Newsletter Editor. Either way, she can rock both jobs in her PJs. Her weekly article, Sh!t My Muse Says, can be found every Monday here at Savvy. She lives in BFE South Dakota with her husband and two PRE-TEEN daughters (had to cap that for emphasis).